Lawyer Anna Panayotova, who represents Belgrade’s Mayor Sinisa Mali, has asked the Registry Agency to record her retroactively as the owner and manager of offshore companies that are managed by Mali himself. Such an entry would have allowed the Belgrade Mayor, who was investigated by the Serbian Anti-Corruption Agency, to be exonerated. Employees of the Commercial Register have firmly refused to breach the law.

After receiving this insider information, Bivol alerted the Registry Agency which then confirmed the facts in an official letter.

 

The Serbian Crime and Corruption Reporting Network KRIK and Bivol investigated the hidden property of Sinisa Mali in Bulgaria. The investigation revealed that two offshore companies own 24 apartments in the St. Nichola beach resort and vacation village near the Black Sea town of Chernomorets. Separately, Sinisa Mali has bought an apartment under his own name.

After the scandal broke in Belgrade, Sinisa Mali said that his signature under the documents filed in the Bulgarian Commercial Register was falsified, but he did not provide any evidence of this. On her part, lawyer Anna Panayotova tried to list entries in the Commercial Register with the aim of deleting the name of the Belgrade mayor. However, the submitted documents were rejected as irregular because of unverified translations of offshore certificates. Therefore, to date, Sinisa Mali remains an offshore manager on paper, which puts him in a situation of conflict of interest.

The information that an acting lawyer has been persuading civil servants to break the law and enter false data in the Commercial Register is within the competence of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Bar Association. However, the Registry Agency did not see any reason to alert the Prosecutor’s Office because the crime had not been committed.

On April 25, 2017, Sinisa Mali announced in an interview with the Serbian newspaper Alo that he would not run for a new term and will return to the private business. In this way, he will be able to dispose of the 24 apartments that he still owns.

The ownership of the St. Nichola vacation village is connected with Serbian national Srdjan Dabic and former Bulgarian volleyball player Vlado Boyanov. Boyanov’s wife is Edith Getova. She was Deputy Minister of Economy in the right-wing government of Prime Minister, Ivan Kostov, and was in charge of the privatization of the refinery in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Burgas by Lukoil.  Sinisa Mali is the privatizer of the Serbian refinery, also bought by Lukoil.

Ten years later, Sinisa Mali’s companies bought from the company of Srdjan Dabic 24 apartments in St. Nicola, with a total area of over 3,000 square meters. In 2012 and 2013, when Sanisa Mali signed the deal, he was economic and financial advisor to then-Prime Minister, Alexander Vucic, who was just elected President, with whom Mali is particularly close. In 2014, Mali was elected Mayor of Belgrade.

The investigation by KRIK and Bivol into the offshore companies and apartments of Sinisa Mali was awarded the 2016 investigative journalism prize in Serbia.

 

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